Albion boss Steve Clarke today admitted a loss of focus from his out-of-contract players might have played a part in the Baggies’ post-Christmas struggles.
Clarke’s men finished eighth in the Premier League but won just four of their final 21 games in all competitions after their flying start to the season put them third in November.
The Hawthorns head coach defended his players’ efforts but admitted concerns about their own futures might have affected some of his stars.
“I think it’s wrong just to analyse the last eight weeks and say everything is terrible,” said Clarke.
“There are some mitigating factors in the second half of the season – loss of key players and a loss of form to key players that probably came about because there’s a bit of fatigue in the squad.
“We had a lot of players who were on short contracts and contracts that were running out towards the end of the season. Maybe they started thinking a bit more about their future rather than the team.”